When we relocated from Cape Town to Pretoria, C was 18 months old. She only spoke or responded in English. Afrikaans didn't even feature as a language. Within a year, J&C were speaking both languages quite confidently, due in part to the fact that we landed smack bang in the middle of Dutchman Territory, otherwise known as living behind the Boerewors Gordyn, and also due in part to the fact that all the schools in the area were Afrikaans. The two English ones closest to us had a waiting list as long as the flight back to Cape Town with no end in sight and the only other option, a private school, was and still is way too expensive for our budget.
Four years ago she started going to a preschool full time and last year she started grade 1, all in Afrikaans only schools. The English that they are taught is on the level of a second language, which is mostly only spoken in our home these days as almost everyone they know is Afrikaans. They only start learning about English later on this school year. Her English isn't great because she barely uses it.
At the beginning of this school year, her grade 2 teacher informed the parents that she encourages reading in a big way, being a huge fan of letting the kids read in their own time at home and to her as a way of expanding their vocabulary, using books of their own and school prescribed reading books. So far she's read 7 Afrikaans books.
Today she brought me a book looking for some help. Dr Seuss's TIME TO READ with DR SEUSS. A fairly easy reader for kids who speak and read Enlgish. She's been quietly spelling out English words for quite a while now it would seem as she started reading quite confidently, stumbling hear and there over an unfamiliar word.
I am so proud. She's teaching herself how to read in an almost foreign language and is doing damn well!